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Labour’s pledge on public loos is to be applauded

30 March, 2018

• I AM pleased to read the pledge in Westminster Labour’s manifesto for the upcoming council elections that they “will seek to return the management of Westminster’s public toilets to council control, look to improve their standards of cleanliness and explore the expanded use of pop-up toilets in hotspot areas such as the West End, if desired by local residents”.

This follows the current Conservative council’s privatisation of public toilet facilities in Westminster, whereby they awarded the contract to Carlisle Support Services, part of the Impellam Group.

The council’s website does not list its public toilets anywhere (although a search reveals the petition to reopen the Church Street toilets they have closed – an inconvenience to many).

Transport for London’s website lists links to boroughs with details of their public toilet facilities. Westminster is one of just four not included on its list.

Given the disgusting state of the council’s public toilets, one might wish to complain to someone. But you would have to be the borough’s own Sherlock Holmes to make such a complaint, given that Westminster’s website lists no contact details for those responsible for the facilities.

It is not uncommon to find a broken hand-dryer, no soap, and freezing tap water in the middle of winter. That is without going into graphic detail about dirty conditions.

When Tachbrook Market traders are selling fresh food on their stalls, and the adjacent public toilets have no soap, is this really acceptable?

Perhaps Westminster’s Conservative councillors would like to try out their own facilities and see what they think. Well, maybe they never have to.

But for the rest of us, inadequate sanitation facilities are a sign of the council’s contempt for public health and an insult to residents and visitors alike.

This is especially poor for a borough which attracts so many tourists from abroad. Provision of clean public toilets are a human right not a privilege.



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